Boss - Betrayal in the City Characterization and Role

Boss is the president of Kafira and cousin to Mulili. He plays the role of the chief of staff in the rehearsal. His wife is called Mercedes.


Boss leads the country with an iron fist. He wants everything to go his way and cannot stand anyone who appears to block his orders and decisions and he cannot brook dissent.

He has signed the death warrants of very many innocent people including Kabito, Adika, Doga and Nina.

He warns Jusper against students’ protests during the rehearsal.

He even brags of having given three hundred jobs to expatriates just to prove a point to the protesters.


According to Mulili, Boss has acquired a lot of wealth and banked the money in foreign accounts.

When Mulili tells him that Kabito was spreading such allegations he shouts, “who gave him that information, just how much does Kabito know about me?” (pg 59).

This seems to confirm his corrupt nature. He orders that the tender awarded to Kabito be revoked and goven to Mulili.

Boss is also notorious for nepotism. He assigns powerful positions to his uneducated and inexperienced kinsmen in order to secure his interests. He also gives jobs to expatriates in return for foreign donations and funding.

He demands that prisoners stage a play for the guest president in order to portray national unity and the involvement of prisoners in national matters.

He does this to make an impression that would attract funding.

Through Mulili we get to learn that he has stashed huge amounts of money in foreign accounts which has brought down the economy of Kafira.


Regina says that boss is reported to have a short temper.

Tumbo says that Boss is known to make hasty decisions and stand by them. When instructing Mulili to get rid of Kabito, he impatiently orders Mulili out of the palace. Tumbo says that when Boss is angry he does not differentiate between a human being and a rat. He also refers to him as an animal.


He says that students do not understand what truth and justice is.

He says that their protest against foreign expatriates led to the death of a student leader and the imprisonment of a lecturer.

To put them in their place, he brings in three hundred more expatriate personnel just to prove his point.

He says that five of them are his own personal appointments.


He has a ridiculous weakness for women according to Tumbo. He also attempts to rape Regina who is forced to escape by jumping a ten foot high window.

Incompetent/ inefficient

He relies on hearsay and propaganda to run the affairs of the state.

He admits that Kabito has been one of his loyal servants.

He allows prisoners to handle fire arms during the rehearsal which they use to stage the palace coup.


He is averse to criticism. He orders the killing of Kabito since it is alleged that he (Kabito) raised serious allegations about his integrity.

He tells Jusper that since the university students questioned his appointment of expatriate personnel, just to put them in their place, he orders three hundred more expatriate personnel.


He falls for Mosese, Jere, and Jusper’s trick and orders the guards to surrender their guns to be used as props.


He has deliberately put Mulili on the entertainment committee to report directly to him if something should seem to be going wrong. He suspects Tumbo of being behind Kabito’s action to discredit him. ‘Tumbo must have a hand in this’ (pg 59)


  • Boss is the architect of the misrule in Kafira.
    He has allowed his advisers such as Mulili to unleash terror to innocent civilians.
  • He is a central character since the events in the story centre around his misrule.
  • He brings out the character of Mulili as vindictive when Mulili convinces him on the need to eliminate Kabito. He also helps brings out the character of Tumbo as sycophantic.
  • Through him several themes are highlighted such as misuse of power, betrayal, and social injustice.
  • He enhances several stylistic devices such as play within a play, suspense, satire and symbolism.

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  • Betrayal in the City by Francis Imbuga

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